Women's Water Polo Makes First Ever Playoff Push
MAAC Championship Offers Path to the NCAA Div I Finals
With just two victories this coming weekend at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships, the St. Francis College Women's Water Polo team can extend their already most successful season ever with a trip to the NCAA Division I Women's Water Polo Championship. (Watch a video about the team)
The women, behind their two top scorers, sophomores Andrea Dolnay (Budapest, Hungary) and Thalita Paladino (Boca Raton, FL) and senior goalie Brittany Ryburn (West Hills, CA), will face off against top seed Iona. The Terriers have played Iona tough this season, losing by a total of just four goals in their past two meetings.
The team's success is due in large part to the efforts of Head Coach Srdjan Mihaljevic, who played for the St. Francis Men's Water Polo team before becoming coach of the women and Coach Jessie Gunderson, who played for Harvard's Women's Team and led the New York Athletic Club team to a national championship. The two have spent the last several years working to recruit a diversity of players from around the country and the world. The team now boasts 15 women from five countries and 6 states.
In the water, Dolnay, a pre-season All-MAAC First Team selection and winner of an Offensive Player of the Week award, led the team with 49 goals this year. Paladino finished with 36 goals.
Outside of the pool, the women are equally as impressive. Each of the past two seasons, the team has been ranked academically in the top 10% nationally of all water polo teams.
St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.
St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201